SD Program Praised For Sending Kids To College
Reality Changers Receives Praise From U.S. Secretary Of Education
Last Updated: 1261 days ago
An afterschool program in San Diego was in the national spotlight Thursday as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Reality Changers in City Heights, 10News reported.Reality Changers was started by former substitute teacher Chris Yanov in 2001. He had $300 in his pocket and knew four students from an inner city neighborhood that had a desire to get to college.Funded by donations and grants, the program offers one-on-one tutoring and has grown to more than 120 students who otherwise would have been expelled from school or faced time in jail.In middle school, I had a 2.0 grade average. By my freshman year, it was 4.0, said Reality Changer student Yaritza Hernandez, who was kicked out of school in eighth grade.High school senior Eduardo Corona said he would have been involved in gangs and facing time in jail if it werent for the program.As for the people he used to hang around, Eduardo said, "They're happy for me that I'm actually doing good. I got new friends now, and they have the same goal as me."Eduardo was introduced to college through the University of California Connections Program at the University of California, San Diego. He earned one of the two top prizes in a mechanical engineering class he took.Yaritza's turn will come next year, but Rep. Susan Davis called her and told her she was accepted to be a page for the House of Representatives."There's a lot of factors that hold us back, but I'm glad to be able top prove that I'm not one of those people and that I can do it," said Yaritza.Of the 87 students who have gone through the program, 83 have gone on to college, including prestigious schools like Harvard and Dartmouth."One out of every 3 of our students who live in San Diego, they live in a single square block of a homicide. In 2003, 96 percent of those same students have gone on to college," said Yanov.Duncan is looking at Reality Changers as a model for other cities.For more information on Reality Changers, visit their Web site at realitychangers.org.